Articles, Blog

Hockey family with hearing impairment heading to Deaf Games

August 21, 2019

Colleen Jones: Identical twins,
Emma and Abi Kyte, getting ready for practice. You look nice. Colleen: On the ice,
their teammates include their brother Thomas,
and their cousin Shawn. Now women playing
on the same team as men isn’t the unusual thing here. Rather, it’s what they leave
behind in the locker room. As the Kyte clan trains for the
upcoming Canadian Deaf Games, they aren’t allowed to wear
their hearing aids. To play, you needed
to have 55 decibels, and so we are
all way over that, but… [laughing together] Congratulations! But, yeah.
So when we’re on the ice, it’s very, like, I wouldn’t
be able to hear my teammates calling for a puck. Colleen: On the ice
and sometimes trying to get their attention
is Murray Kyte. Now he’s played
in the Deaf Olympics. The Kyte family has a genetic
auditory nerve degeneration. They don’t sign. They lip read and use
their hearing aids. This all began with
Murray’s father, John Tink Kyte. He’s on the wall
here in Antigonish, as a member of
St. FX’s of Hall of Fame, one of their
best athletes ever. He thought his deafness came
from the whooping cough. It was only in later years
they found that it was genetic. Murray: All the boys
are hearing impaired. And then the kids
started having kids. So I have my wife,
and I have four boys. Two of them
are hearing impaired. And then another brother, all four of his kids
are hearing impaired. Colleen: Murray’s brother Jim
was the only deaf player to play in the NHL. He played for 13 seasons. He’ll join his nieces
and nephews at the deaf championships. They learned a lot about how to
thrive in hockey from him. Watching our Uncle Jim,
like, in the NHL and, like, all his
techniques he had during it, they get definitely
passed down to all of us. Colleen: So on the ice and
playing three on three hockey, which is what they’ll
play at the Games, they’re practicing
their visual cues as much as their stick work. Definitely not
having the hearing aids and having your teammates
not being able to hear you. Colleen: Their Grandfather Tink,
who’s since passed away, would be proud. Murray: Dad always
said one thing. You might have a disability,
but it’s not a handicap. Go, Kyte, go! [cheering] Colleen Jones, CBC News,

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